If I were a tycoon and could afford the best medical expertise to cure an illness, would it be wrong for me to use my money to buy my way through a long queue of patients so that I get treated first instead of those who’ve been waiting much longer in line before me?
I suspect many would find such an attitude disgusting! But the reality about the survival instinct is that we’re willing to do unimaginable things in order to remain alive. When in desperation, we might pay a lot of money to preserve life, quite often even when we can’t really afford it!
For example, say that I’m dying of a failing kidney, and desperately need a quick kidney transplant. There are many others in the same situation, but unfortunately we don’t have very many kidney donors. There may be some people out there who’re keen to donate, but do not see the urgency of the matter. Some people procrastinate, you see. If they are willing to donate, would it be unethical to use money to bid for their organs? It seems so wrong, somehow.
That’s why Datuk Dr Harjit Singh is condemning the act of buying or selling organs [The Star]. And then Datin Dr Lela opined that the act is unethical. However, it would be very interesting to see what would happen if Harjit and Lela themselves are dying of kidney failure, or perhaps their loved ones are suffering the illness; and the only available option to remain alive is from a donor who demands RM50,000 for one of his kidneys. I wonder if they would rather die, or let their loved ones die, than spending that RM50,000, especially if they can easily afford that amount.
People are always fast to condemn what others do on “ethical” grounds. But survival is a very strong motivation—it is a built-in instinct that is not easy to go against. We would all love to live another day—to see another sunrise; to see the smiles and hear the laughter of our loved ones just one more time. One should be dying of kidney failure himself in order to really know what people in that situation are going through. And only then is he truly qualified to say whether the act is ethical or not. This world is after all not perfect, and it will never be! All we can do is to try to make the best of it. And sometimes, the best means we may need to use money to get things done. I’m afraid that’s reality.